Local News

UNC officer resigns after wreck involving football players

Posted August 17, 2011 11:55 a.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2011 6:58 p.m. EDT

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill police officer who handled a wreck involving four UNC football players in May resigned last month, WRAL News has learned.

Chief Jeff McCracken, director of UNC's Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that Officer Shawn Smith resigned July 15, more than a month after the early-morning wreck involving senior linebacker Herman Davidson, senior offensive tackle Carl Gaskins Jr., junior linebacker Dion Guy and senior linebacker Ebele Okakpu.

Smith, who was assigned to escort the football team during home and away games, had been with the department for nearly 10 years, McCracken said.

According to a May 29 wreck report, Davidson lost control and overturned a 2000 Ford SUV on Mason Farm Road around 3 a.m. when he swerved to miss a car.

The report also indicated that Smith detected alcohol but that Davidson, 21, did not seem impaired. Smith did not give him a sobriety test and cited him not having a valid driver's license.

The SUV was traveling approximately 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, and Smith noted later that he had changed the speed from 25 mph to 45 mph based on the "severity of the wreck and other factors."

The SUV had an estimated $18,000 in damages, the report indicated.

McCracken did not say why Smith resigned and said that he can't discuss the case. He did say, however, that there was no disciplinary action taken regarding the wreck. Field sobriety tests, he said, are at the discretion of officers.

News of the wreck comes as the UNC football program is reeling from the loss of head coach Butch Davis, who was abruptly fired last month on the heels of a lengthy NCAA investigation into the football program.